Friday, January 2, 2009

Yay! It's 2009!

And I can't tell you how happy I am to see the back end of 2008.  What a year.  Here's to 2009 being fantastic for us all!

Our nephew and his fiance, Chris & Hayley, came up to visit and have a little break just after Christmas.  We had an excellent dinner and drinks at the Italian restaurant one night and they got out for a couple of dives and some fishing with Dave one day and brought back some good fish.  It was a late one by the time they got around to packing it all up for the trip back to Perth

We had a late open on New Year's Day at the dive shop, so I headed out for two morning dives with Ross and Mary. I really enjoyed both of them, despite some pretty sub-average conditions on the first site. The second site was just magic - great visibility, incredible activity, no current and little surge. I played around with shooting some subjects I don't normally spend much time with and overall just enjoyed the heck out of being underwater. After those two dives, I had to jump ship in the middle of the Gulf so I could guide some of the dive shop divers on our two afternoon reef dives so it turned in to a long day on the water!

01 - royal damsel
02 -

03 - yellow boxfish

04 - whitetip reef shark. These guys must have been mating because the big female was circling around and around, then would crash land onto the sand where a small male would come close to her and off she'd go again. There was a little bumping going on and she clearly wasn't interested in the whole affair; she just really wanted to be left alone.

05 - Chromodoris geometricas laying eggs. I found this pair on the second dive.
Chromodoris geometrica laying eggs

06 - On the third dive, I found the egg spiral, but the two nudibranchs had moved off. I found one a very long ways from the eggs and couldn't find the other at all.
Chromodoris geometrica

07 - there was a whole school of batfish under the boat on the second dive and they weren't shy about getting close!

As usual, there was no shortage of cleaning action
08 - goatfish

09 - rankin cod
rankin cod with cleaner wrasse

10 - big eye trevally

11 - The tiger cardinalfish are brooding their eggs again

Some more cutie fishes
12 - Gold-banded butterfly fish, juvenile

13 - Fiery damsel, adult. When these guys are juveniles, their backs are bright red or orange. Still pretty when they grow up!
Fire damsel - adult

On the other end of the spectrum, there were lots of creatures with good camouflage, too
14 - crocodilefish

15 - scorpionfish

16 - we see a lot of these little gobies guarding their holes as a shrimp cleans house, but I've never seen (or noticed, maybe) one of these stripey shrimp before

And the not so subtle
17 - Gymnodoris rubropapulosa
Gymnodoris rubrupapulosa

18 - Hypselodoris bullockii
Hypselodoris bullockii

19 - and some beautiful orangey-pinky soft coral
soft coral

Dave has had to drive down to Coral Bay for work stuff today so I am in the dive centre wishing the air-conditioners would at least pretend to keep up with the over 40C degree day we're having. I have a meeting with one of my April brides later tonight and have a few new enquiries to follow up, too.

I think 2009 is going to be great! So far we're off to a good start ;)

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